Monday, March 31, 2003

London United Soccer Club Affiliates with AC Perugia

March, 31st 2003

LONDON, ONTARIO CANADA: Mr. Ed Lauterbach President and The Executives of London United Competitive Soccer Club a London Ontario based nonprofit competitive soccer club announces that they have signed an affiliation agreement with AC Perugia Scuola Calcio (soccer school) program:”I am extremely excited about the affiliation agreement with AC Perugia and London United Soccer Club. This affiliation will help bring what I had envisioned of the future of soccer in Ontario Canada a step closer to reality. To be able to have available all the resources that a professional club such as AC Perugia has to offer, youth player development system, coaching support and development, and other wealth of knowledge arising from being one of the premier soccer clubs in Italy can only benefit our soccer in the Ontario province and beyond”.The affiliation comes as AC Perugia Soccer School program started to expand its program in September 2002 and looks to strengthen ties in the Canada and USA. Ontario is a province full of opportunities, said Dott. Alessandro Dominici, AC Perugia Scuola Calcio General Manager. This affiliation shows the commencement of AC Perugia Scuola Calcio (soccer school) youth development program’s strategy to involve other quality soccer organizations such as London United Soccer Club into the Perugia Calcio family, Mr. Dominici added. ”We have been very impressed with the commitment of the London United Soccer club, it has been remarkable. Our top priority for this year and years to come will be to promote, organize and support players and members of London United Soccer club”, said Antonio Saviano AC Perugia Scuola Calcio North America Coordinator. " The quality of the players, the planning from its executive team members and the quality of their soccer organization is our focus on helping developing youth soccer talent in the Ontario region, Saviano added. There are specific reasons why an Italian professional club would work closely with a Canadian soccer club, said Mr. Saviano. "AC Perugia Scuola Calcio is looking at Canada. Because of the success of Canadian players like Radzinski, de Guzman and Hargreaves. “I am very impressed with London United Soccer Club's program, which is developing talent for the future similar to the methods/philosophy of AC Perugia Scuola Calcio. This affiliation is a major step not only for London United Soccer but for AC Perugia Scuola Calcio as well. I am convinced that our collaboration with London United Soccer will result in the formulation of new talent."According to Mr. Bruno Redolfi AC Perugia Scuola Calcio Youth Director, "We believe this affiliation is an excellent opportunity for future development of London United Soccer club youth soccer players and also a good exchange program for our youth player development. It will be a beneficial factor for both organizations". "An important factor in this affiliation is that this program will be an initiative for the interest of the players within London United Soccer club and the province of Ontario." The AC Perugia affiliations are aimed to offer the opportunities to youth soccer players to look forward to a different soccer future. It helps to strengthen not only the youth system of the affiliated soccer organization but also its own youth system. It is one of a kind in Canada and USA. The AC Perugia Scuola Calcio program was started in 1997 with the goal of enhancing the player development program across Italy. After a successful start with only three soccer schools, today the program has grown to more then 100 soccer schools through out Italy and Europe and now it is growing also in Canada and United States. With the continuing purpose to pursue finding new talents to insert in its youth sector, AC Perugia has built a structure called the “Project”. This will help transfer the idea about the development of the youth soccer players to affiliated soccer programs around the world and will also benefit players enhance and develop to different levels. With the “Project”, the AC Perugia will make available, to all the associated soccer schools, its own professional technical-organizational development. The AC Perugia Scuola Calcio Program represents a unique opportunity for the youth soccer students to grow in an environment filled with talent. One of the main goals is to develop players that will be better persons on and off the field. The program has been placed together by some of the most qualified instructors in the world.Some of the benefits include wearing the official AC Perugia uniforms, membership cards for all qualified London United players, trainers, and coaches. Support of educational resources on youth development in each age bracket; and invite London United coaches and trainers to attend educational courses in Italy where coaches will receive Certificates upon completion of the course. An official invitation to attend the AC Perugia soccer school tryouts at the school facility in Italy and invite London United players to participate in the annual AC Perugia-Galex Cup International Tournament in Italy that is attended by numerous European scouts.
We believe that an association with one of the best youth soccer development program through out Italy and Europe can only benefit our local talent." Said Mr. Caranci, Director for London United Soccer club.Mr. Antonio Saviano will be available at the Media Press Conference held at the Hilton Hotel Downtown London Ontario at 2pm Sunday April 6 2003 For further information please call Aldo Caranci @ 519-433-0513 or visit

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Bringing an English perspective

Bringing an English perspective to London soccer
By SEAN MEYER, The Londoner

Ian Knight has been brought to Canada by the Greater London Soccer Club to raise the skill level of the 200-plus boys and girls playing on the club's 11 teams.

A bad break for an English soccer star has turned positive for about 200 kids learning soccer in the Forest City.
The Greater London Soccer Club (which was started in 1995 with a single team and now has 11 youth competitive boys and girls teams) has hired former professional English footballer Ian Knight as club head coach.
Knight will oversee the creation of the club's youth development business plan. In turn, the plan will be used as a blueprint to involve parents, coaches, and most of all the kids themselves, in the development of their soccer skills.
Marcel Naarden is the club's league representative for the London District Youth Soccer League.
"The majority of our kids are really soccer-oriented. That's their focus. We thought to teach them the best possible skills we needed to bring in someone who has played at the highest level."
Knight certainly possesses the knowledge and game experience the club wanted. He played for 20 years, first with the English under 21 national team, and professionally with Grimsby Town and Sheffield Wensday.
A serious leg injury led to a premature end to Knight's professional career (although he was able to return to action after breaking his leg in seven places during a game in 1987).
And Knight already had experience working with London kids.
"London soccer wanted an opportunity to see the game at the professional level and that brought a group of kids over to England. That's where I first came in contact with the group (here in London)," Knight says.
"I brought a group of kids to Grimsby (where Knight has served as academy director in the past) and gave them the opportunity to play with our youth teams. It was a great experience for them."
Club rep Naarden says they recognized the need for someone like Knight - not just for the benefit of the players, but the coaches as well.
"We all needed to learn some different skills. Some of the coaches too had reached a plateau," Naarden says. "I think we needed to see things in a different way. Ian helped bring that different set of eyes."
Upon starting work with the club, Knight used those fresh eyes to get a good look at the players and the level at which they performed.
"My first impression, what impressed me, was the enthusiasm, the focus on the sport," Knight says. "There was good attendance, the enthusiasm. As a coach, you know if you have that, you can teach the skills they need."
From that point, Knight went to the club executive and explained the business plan he envisioned to help move forward the skill level of players in London.
"A big part of the plan is to educate the players, but also the parents as well. They are part of the process and we want to have them involved," Knight says. "Sometimes what you do away from the game is more important. If you only focus during practice, during the game time, what you're learning won't take. That's why we have the parents and the coaches involved."
The development plan includes a variety of information designed to set out not only what the kids will be learning, but what is expected of them, their parents, and the coaches and even how each group will be evaluated.
The core values listed in the plan include employment of dedicated coaches, provision of relevant and ongoing training, establishing a comprehensive monitoring and inspection system, to provide regular get-togethers to share opinions and to behave fairly and consistently in all matters.
Naarden says the development plan is a blueprint not to just soccer, but to a lifestyle for the players involved.
"We want to make the plan a part of their lifestyle. To make it a focus like hockey is, like baseball. There's so much potential for this sport, and not just locally, we want to do whatever we can to take the next step," Naarden says. "It's not going to happen overnight. But we want to develop the kids not just as soccer players, but as people."
Knight agrees the changes won't happen overnight and will require a continued level of dedication from the players, parents and coaches.
"Everything around this is player-focused. The education both on the field and at home. We need to build their level of play, but at the same time not put extra pressure on them. They are there to have fun and we have to remember that."
While it may be too early to see the results of the new coach's work, Naarden says he has seen some changes already.
"We've noticed changes - little, different things. There's been a difference in their attitudes I think. The players are more committed. They are setting their goals a little farther ahead. And that's good to see."